*er* verb conjugation

“er” verb conjugation
Refresher: what is conjugation?
Conjugation is changing the verb to match the subject of
the sentence. (The subject is the person or thing doing
the verb)
We have already conjugated the verb être:
je suis
nous sommes
tu es
vous êtes
il/elle/on est
ils/elles sont
Remember: only verbs can be conjugated. Not nouns, not
Refresher: what is an infinitive?
An infinitive is a verb that has not been conjugated.
In English, infinitives have “to” in front of them (such
as, to study, to swim, to play).
If you see an infinitive in French, it can be assumed
that the English equivalent has “to” in front of it.
Etre is not conjugated, and it means “to be.”
Examples of “er” verbs
(in their infinitive form)
aimer = to like/love
adorer = to adore
détester = to hate
regarder = to watch
manger = to eat
jouer = to play
skier = to ski
rester = to stay
voyager = to travel
reposer = to rest
nager = to swim
traîner = to hang out
porter = to wear
étudier = to study
parler = to speak
acheter = to buy
écouter = to listen to
danser = to dance
How to conjugate an “er” verb
Step 1: remove the “er”
Step 2: add the following endings
je – e
nous – ons
tu – es
vous – ez
il/elle/on – e
ils/elles – ent
** The endings in red are all pronounced the same…
An example of a conjugated “er” verb
je regarde
nous regardons
tu regardes
vous regardez
il/elle/on regarde ils/elles regardent
VERY VERY important:
In English, we say, both, “I am watching,” and “I watch.”
In French, there is no difference!!
Je regarde = I watch AND I am watching
tu regardes = You watch AND you are watching
nous regardons = We watch AND we are watching
Sample sentences using
“regarder” conjugated
Je regarde la télé.
I’m watching TV.
Tu regardes la télé avec des copains?
Do you watch TV with friends?
Elle regarde la télé au lit.
She is watching TV in bed.
Nous regardons la télé à la maison.
We watch TV at home.
Vous regardez la télé quelque fois?
Do you watch TV sometimes?
Ils regardent la télé en été.
They watch TV in summer.
Sample sentences using
“aimer” conjugated
*Notice that “aimer” starts with a vowel, so the “je” form needs to be modified
slightly. This will be true of all verbs that begin with vowels! (Such as
adorer, écouter or étudier)
J’aime nager.
I like to swim
Tu aimes nager?
Do you like to swim?
Il aime skier en hiver.
He likes to ski in winter.
Nous aimons jouer au tennis quand il fait beau.
We like to play tennis when the weather is nice.
Vous aimez jouer au tennis?
Do you like to play tennis?
Elles aiment la pizza!
They like pizza!
Refresher: Why do we conjugate?
You may ask yourself, why do we need to learn all these
different endings – we don’t have to do this in English!
Well, yes you do. Conjugation in your native language
comes to you by instinct. You do it without thinking. If you
didn’t, you would sound like this:
“Good morning, mom. Today, I to swim at the rec center.
Tom, he be my friend, so we hangs out together. He are
very nice. He to come over to our house this afternoon, be
that okay?”
What this means is, EVERY TIME you use a verb in French,
you MUST think about conjugation. It is not optional!
You will sound extremely awkward if you do not do it, you
will not be able to communicate well, and your grade will
So, then, what’s up with
all those infinitives?
You may have noticed with the “aimer” sentence samples (two slides
ago) that there were quite a few infinitives! Yet, on the last slide,
I said to think about conjugation with EVERY VERB!
And this is true. This means think about conjugation – it doesn’t
mean that every verb gets conjugated all the time. It means think.
Example: J’aime nager. = I like to swim.
“Aimer” gets conjugated (j’aime) but notice that the English
equivalent is “to swim.” An infinitive! So, when there are two
verbs back to back, the first verb is conjugated, the second one is
Other times when this will happen will be, for example, “I want to
eat.” “She is able to play.” “My brother needs to clean.”
So… did I mention, think about what you’re doing?
Refresher: How to make a negative
In English, in general, we add “do not” or “does not”
before a verb to express a negative.
In French, “ne… pas” is used. The “…” is a conjugated
Elle ne mange pas la pizza. = She does not eat pizza.
Nous ne parlons pas francais. = We do not speak French.
Je n’aime pas étudier. = I do not like to study.
**Ne and pas do not belong together!
Refresher: Three ways of asking
yes/no questions
The simplest is to put a question mark at the end of a
statement: Tu aimes nager?
The most elegant is to put “est-ce que” (which means is
it that) in front: Est-ce que tu aimes nager?
The most common is to invert the subject and verb:
Aimes-tu nager?
Why did we learn about weather last week,
and verbs this week?
The idea is for you to be able to discuss what you like
to do in the certain seasons, and in certain weather
If you have not already done so, please download the
handout from the website that says “Les Passetemps” at the top (these are “pasttimes). There is
another handout that has pictures of folks doing
things, and gives you sample sentences to describe
them. Have a hard copies of both in front of you, as
well as your notes on the weather and seasons.
The very first verbs at the tope of “Les Passe-temps” will help
you describe what you like and dislike to do.
Next, you see “En automne, en hiver, en été, au printemps.”
These are the four seasons, with “in” in front of them. Notice
that “printemps” (spring) has “au”.
And then, there is a question: “Qu’est-ce que tu aimes faire?”
This asks “What is it that you like to do?”
So, when someone asks you, “En hiver, qu’est-ce que tu aimes
faire?” What are they asking? How might you answer?
**Notice that we saw “est-ce que,” or “is it that,” a little while
ago. This is “qu’est-ce que,” or “what is it that.” Being able to
tell the difference is vital.
Questions… continued
The next question is similar, but not exactly the same. “Qu’estce que tu fais?” is “What is it that you do?”
Someone might ask, “Au printemps, qu’est-ce que tu fais?”
What are they asking? How might you answer?
What about, “Au printemps, est-ce que tu aimes jouer au
What about, “Quand il neige, qu’est-ce que tu fais?”
Or, “Quand il fait chaud, skies-tu?”
**It’s important to notice the phrasing of questions. “Qu’est-ce
que tu aimes faire,” and “Qu’est-ce que tu fais,” ask for
different types of answers. One first one looks for “J’aime”
with an infinitive verb, and the second looks for “Je,” plus a
conjugated verb.
Question variations
Qu’est-ce qu’elle aime faire?
Qu’est-ce qu’elle fait?
Qu’est-ce que vous aimez faire, toi et Marc?
Au printemps est-ce qu’il reste au lit?
Quand il fait froid, restes-tu à la maison?
Quand il fait frais, tu joues dans les feuilles?
Toi et Elisabeth, vous jouez au hockey en hiver?
Tu aimes le printemps?
Tu aimes quand il neige?
Most names of sporting games are cognates in French and in English.
When you refer to playing a sport, use the verb “jouer,” to play,
followed by “au” or “à la”.
jouer au tennis
jouer au football (soccer)
jouer au football américain
jouer au hockey
jouer à la crosse
jouer au basketball
jouer au baseball
jouer au tennis
jouer au volleyball
*Notice that swimming and skiing are sports, but they don’t have
“play” in front of them either in French or in English! Same goes for
track and field events, diving, etc.
**For sports that end in “ball,” usually the “ball” can be left off.
Baseball is an exception. So, it’s fine to say, “Je joue au basket.”
Practice! Translate these sentences
In summer, I like to hang out with friends.
We do not like to ski in April.
Louis hates to stay home when it’s sunny.
Do you eat pizza? (informal)
Elise and Marie play soccer in the fall.
I am resting.
Olivier is not buying a TV.
We are dancing in the snow!
Are you listening? (plural)
I hate to study in July when it’s beautiful!

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